Pandemic Fear? Unemployment Benefits Too Good? Local Restaurants Struggle To Find Staff
I was grabbing my iced coffee before this morning's radio show when I learned that Dunkin's manager was the only person working there. "I can't get anyone to work", she says to me. I reply, "What, because of unemployment?" "That's part of it", she said.
This seems to be a common issue for some local Berkshire restaurants amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Vaccinations are ramping up, cases are trending down, restaurant restrictions have been lifted, people wanna go out to eat, but staffing issues are hindering efforts to serve patrons.
Slater had the chance to speak Shannon Lovallo, the restaurant manager at Patrick's Pub in downtown Pittsfield about some of their staffing issues.
Slater: So how many staff do you have working for you now?
Slater: So what happens when you ask them to work more shifts?
Slater: Is this unemployment related? I know the benefits one can receive can be MORE than what they would make working.
Slater: Do some employees still fear getting COVID-19 even with protocols in place?
Slater: What are Patrick's hours now?
Slater also caught up with Luke Marion, owner of Otto's Kitchen and Comfort in Pittsfield.
Slater: How has the pandemic affected your ability to retain staff?
Slater: Why is there no help available?
Slater: What happens when the unemployment benefits expire?
Another local restaurant, District, is offering quite the incentive to work.
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